The correct name for these pests is the brown marmorated stinks bug. I found that these pesky slow-moving creatures are a native of China.

I’m sitting here writing this on a beautiful warm, sunny October afternoon; one of those days that God gives us each fall to prepare for the long, cold winter months ahead.

There are many things I need to do outside before it turns cold. This is a perfect day to clean windows, finish the painting I need to do on the trim of my storage barn, take the plants that have summered on the porch into the basement where they’ll remain during the winter months and put a coat of sealer on the wooden swing in the yard.

Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men…...

Instead of venturing outside to accomplish at least one of these tasks, I am huddled inside, flyswatter in hand and held hostage in my own home by a horde of stinks bugs.

Anyone who knows me at all knows that bugs and insects of all kinds are my mortal enemies! It’s hard to believe that I was ever a termite and pest inspector.

For two years I spent my days in crawl spaces and dark, dank basements, flashlight in hand, looking for the very thing I’ve spent my entire life avoiding, which just goes to prove that women will do almost anything if they need money bad enough!

Bugs and creepy crawly things are the reason I hated living in Houston so much. Not only do roaches and fire ants infest every home and yard, no matter how many times you spray to get rid of them, but there are scary-looking creatures there called tree roaches that fly at you and invade your home.

I can remember one evening while Murphy and I were watching TV, when Max, our Maine Coon cat, was over in the corner playing with something. Whatever it was, it had his total attention. Every now and then he’d toss it in the air and then, catching it once again with his front paws, would roll around on the floor with it.

As I got close enough to see what it was that he was playing with, a huge roach, as large as one of those palmetto bugs you find in Florida, flew towards me.

Screaming at the top of my lungs, I ran through two rooms and ended up standing in the middle of our king-size waterbed –– which, believe me, is no easy feat!

After that incident, followed by another one a few days later upon finding one of these horrid creatures in the bathroom in the middle of the night, I never again ventured out of bed without slipping on a pair of shoes, which I keep on the nightstand nearby. The entire time I lived in Texas I felt as if I was in one of those horror movies where people are attacked by giant insects. Life for me was just one nightmare after another, and all of them involved insects and creepy, crawly things!

Until the day that we finally loaded up a Ryder truck and headed out of Texas for California, I lived in constant fear.

During our moving trip, while driving through west Texas one afternoon, Murphy pulled off the road with the huge moving van and started to walk back to the car that I was driving. As I rolled down the window he stuck his head in and asked, “Don’t you want to get out and kiss the road?”

“Why would I want to do that?” I asked him.

“Well, we just crossed the state line into New Mexico. We’re finally out of Texas,” he replied.

That was one of the happiest days of my life!

Now, once again, my life has become one long vigil, searching out and killing these &*$#*%# stinks bugs that have invaded my world.

Looking them up on the Internet, I found that these pesky slow-moving creatures are a native of China, having arrived in this country while hiding out in some packing crates that had been shipped here. They were first discovered in Allentown, Pa., in 1998 and have now spread throughout much of the Mid-Atlantic States, with numerous sightings in the Northeast as well as Virginia.

The correct name for these pests is the brown marmorated stinks bug. According to Wikipedia, they are an agricultural nightmare, doing major damage to fruit, corn and soybeans products. They are also probably what caused so many tomato plants to do poorly this year. They get their name from the vile odor they emit as a defense mechanism to prevent them from being eaten by birds and lizards.

When the weather turns cold, these freeloaders find any route possible to invade homes and buildings where they hide behind picture frames, around windows and doorframes and underneath roof shingles and soffits.

Once inside, they hibernate until spring, unless the temperature indoors get warms enough to cause them to fly out of their hiding places and clumsily wander about your home in mid-winter.  There is an overabundance of them this year because of the extremely warm temperatures in the spring and summer that allowed them to procreate twice in one season.

And here’s another bit of info: They also have a life span of three or four years and have no known enemies to eradicate them.

In other words, the stinks bug family has moved into your home and, like Clark Griswold’s worthless cousin Eddie and his family that came to visit in the movie “Christmas Vacation,” these guys are here to stay!

The stinks bugs may not have any enemies that they know about, but as of today I’m putting them on notice that I’m a trained professional, although a bit out of practice, and I’ll not rest until I track down and wipe out every single one of those rascals that have the audacity to sneak into my house!
Little do they know that they’ve picked the wrong house in which to hang out for the winter! So go ahead stinks bugs — make my day!